The [BLUE BOX] Effect

It has been 2 months since we wrapped our fifth [BLUE BOX] event and we are still receiving great feedback and hearing about new relationships and partnerships that came out of the day.  We are privileged to have had the opportunity to spend such a unique day with so many fascinating people.

The premise of [BLUE BOX] has always been to look at the beverage industry through an extremely wide lens.  Too many times most of us in the beverage industry are lured into thinking only about what’s happening in our microcosm and we forget that beverages—just like people—are influenced by so many factors…culture, design, social media, politics, technology, fashion, music and food, just to name a few. Frans Johannsen, author of The Medici Effect*, says it best…

“…we <as leaders> have the best chance of coming up with great new ideas when we mix diverse perspectives, field, cultures and backgrounds.”


I went into the event with some advice to our attendees: be open minded because the most valuable lessons are learned when we step out of our comfort zone, our beverage niche.

Throughout the event, our speakers took us on a journey into the future, into our consumers’ psyche, into CPG advancements, and as a result inspired us to think and innovate on a broader scale.

The journey started with a talk about the future of technology and the beverage industry from Ian Beacraft of the big data firm, Epsilon.  He was followed by Vivien Azer of Cowen and Company, who spoke about the interaction between cannabis and alcohol.  Mark Rampolla, the founder of ZICO who now runs Powerplant Ventures, a food, beverage and social impact venture fund, then spoke about his work with Homeboy Industries and how social good and the bottom line can work together and in different models.

We heard from Zak Normandin of DIRTY LEMON, a brand that uses proprietary technology to sell exclusively via text message and has flipped how you use retail space on its head, and from Caitlin Landesberg of Sufferfest Beer Company, a functional beer for athletes, who talked about her lessons learned in her first year.  We listened to a fireside chat by beverage industry veterans Jeff White of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Joe Heron, the founder of Copper & Kings, Crispin Cider and Nutrisoda, who chatted about Joe’s takeaways from starting three successful brands in three very different categories.

Duke Stump, a former executive leader at Nike, Seventh Generation and lululemon spoke about the power of emotion and how that power comes from letting your team be their “effortless selves”.  David Olsen of Cos Bar and his wife, Michelle, a beauty brand strategy consultant, held a fireside chat about omni-channel successes and failures in the beauty industry, followed by a talk by Osman Khan about applying blockchain technology into the luxury goods space via his Paddle8 platform.

Our last speaker of the day, George Taylor a serial entrepreneur and founder of TRU Colors Brewing, gave a moving talk about how a local shooting in his neighborhood motivated him to found a brewery that employs active gang members from the Bloods, Crips and Gangster Disciples in an effort to combat gang violence in America.  We got to hear from three of his employees, Cory, D’Angelo and Chaz, about their experience over the past year with TRU Colors and the positive difference it’s made in their personal lives and communities.   We were all riveted and moved.

I’m so grateful to all of our speakers, attendees and sponsors who made the day a truly memorable one. Our community is what motivates us to continue this series. Looking forward to the next time we are all together.

We are excited that this event was captured on video and our extended community can enjoy the sessions. Check out our social channels for content release information and stay tuned on our YouTube channel.